“Today, there is north Gaza and south Gaza,” Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters on Sunday, calling it a “significant stage” in Israel’s war against Hamas.
Israeli media reported that troops are expected to enter Gaza City within 48 hours. Strong explosions were seen in northern Gaza after nightfall.
But the “collapse in connectivity” across Gaza reported by internet access advocacy group NetBlocks.org and confirmed by the Palestinian telecom company Paltel made it even more complicated to convey details of the new stage of the military offensive.
“We have lost communication with the vast majority of the UNRWA team members,” UN Palestinian refugee agency spokesperson Juliette Touma told the Associated Press. The first Gaza outage lasted 36 hours and the second for a few hours.
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli warplanes struck two central Gaza refugee camps, killing tens of people and wounding dozens, health officials confirmed.
Israel said it would press on with its offensive against Hamas, despite US appeals for even brief pauses to get aid to desperate civilians.
The Palestinian health ministry said more than 9,800 Palestinians have been killed in the territory in nearly a month of war, more than 4,000 of them children. That toll likely will rise as Israeli forces advance into dense, urban neighbourhoods.
Despite appeals and overseas demonstrations, Israel has continued its bombardment across Gaza. Critics say Israel’s strikes are often disproportionate, considering the large number of civilians killed.